Atlanta Hawks at Pistons: Game thread
Auburn Hills, Mich.–Joe Johnson returns to the starting lineup after missing six of the last seven games with left knee tendinitis. Joe had been working out daily. He got the go-ahead to play after a workout during today’s shootaround. “It feels great,” he said. “I don’t have any pain it so that’s the main thing. As the game goes on, that’s the only concern. We’ve got to test it.”
- As for the strength in the knee, Joe said: “Not to where I want it to be but from the last time I tried to play, 10 times better than that.”
- Willie Green will miss his fifth consecutive game. In addition to a sore back, Green said he tweaked a hamstring while working out today.
- Ivan Johnson is to leave the team after the game because of a death in the family. He’s expected to return for the game at Sacramento Sunday.
- After an intense game against the Heat, the Hawks face a Pistons team that’s still last in the Central Division behind Cleveland in spite of showing signs of life since the start of February. It will be interesting to see if the Hawks are as spirited against a struggling opponent as they were at Miami.
- Larry Drew: “You say struggling but this team has won 9 of its last 15. They’ve got some healthy bodies back, they have been playing well. They are coming off a big win against the Lakers, which they have to be feeling good about. It’s always a physical game when we play this team. That’s one thing we have emphasized with our players. This may be the most physical games of this road trip and that’s the mindset you have to have going into this game.”
- Pistons forward Charlie Villaneuva (ankle) is expected to play for the first time since Jan. 4.
Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat